Healthy Waterways Need A Healthy Democracy

Many of the actions we have covered in Dive into Democracy are inspired by Members of Congress or the Trump administration putting the profits of a few before the needs of the many. Issues like climate change inaction, rolling back regulations on toxic water pollution that contaminates drinking water, and attacking the ability of the public to protect their communities from pollution all are symptoms of a more widespread problem within our democracy. Industrial polluters use their wealth to buy a disproportionate level of influence over our elected officials, corrupting the basic principle of democracy.

This power imbalance makes accomplishing our goals for clean water much more difficult. Polluting companies exert their influence to stop the government from forcing them to spend the money necessary to control their pollution. The companies externalize these costs and the public pays the price, with waters unsafe for fishing or swimming, and higher costs for safe drinking water. Fighting for clean water protections in this broken system can often be an uphill battle, as we take on powerful, wealthy companies and the elected officials whose campaigns the companies financed.

Last week, Waterkeeper Alliance joined the Democracy Initiative, a coalition of groups fighting for a better, more inclusive democratic process in the United States. As part of this coalition, we seek to make government actually serve the people – not just the wealthy and powerful. Supporting voting rights and getting big money out of politics go hand in hand with fighting for drinkable, fishable, and swimmable water. The only way to truly hold polluters accountable and protect our waterways is through a government that actually reflects the will of “We the People.”

This week, we ask you to join us by taking the pledge to raise your hand for democracy and consider other ways you can help strengthen the democratic process, such as:  

  • Registering to vote, and encouraging others to register as well.
  • Researching your Members of Congress and state and local representatives, and see where they stand and vote on issues that matter to you.
  • Supporting local efforts towards campaign finance reform.  

With your help, we can revitalize our democracy and make our government truly accountable to the people! 

About Waterkeeper

United as one powerful force, Waterkeeper Alliance fights for every community's right to drinkable, fishable, swimmable water. For more information please visit